Alison Meuse of National Public Radio speaks with Ammar Salamo, the head of Aleppo civil defense and a witness to Monday’s Russian-regime attack on a UN aid convoy west of Aleppo city:
Salamo met his Omar Barakat, the head of the local Red Crescent and the 31 trucks. He then returned to his office when he was told via walkie-talkie that a regime helicopter was en route. He watched the helicopter drop two barrel bombs and circle back for a “double-tap” raid. As Salamo drove to the scene of the attack, he recognized the sound of a Russian-made Su-24 strike aircraft, operated by both the Russian and regime air forces.
Salamo arrived to find some of the trucks on fire and a mortally wounded Omar Barakat, but he couldn’t reach him as the warplanes were still attacking. Red Crescent were messaging him frantically from the regime side, asking if Barakat was okay — he told them his teams could not move.
The attack lasted eight hours, until 3 a.m., with Salamo and his team helping the victims they could reach and then taking shelter at their center.
Salamo and other rescuers finally got to the other dead and wounded. Among the casualties were Barakat, four truck drivers from the regime side, and 10 local workmen unloading the aid. Red Crescent workers from regime-held areas subsequently stopped work for three days in protest at the attacks and Barakat’s death.
“It was a moment of madness. A moment of hell,” Salamo says.